Edging towards 15%, Ireland has fifth highest jobless rate in eurozone

Ireland had the fifth highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, as of the end of June, according to latest data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical division.

The Irish rate of 14.8% is unchanged on a year-on-year basis and means the country is still significantly above the eurozone average unemployment rate of 11.2%.

Only Spain (24.8%), Greece (22.5%), Portugal (15.4%) and Latvia (15.3%) currently rank higher than Ireland.

Overall, June only saw unemployment fall in seven eurozone states, while it increased in nine member countries and remained stable in just one — Sweden.

The overall eurozone unemployment rate of 11.2% was a record high for the index. It is feared it could rise by another 1% next year.

In Germany, unemployment climbed for a fourth straight month in July, a separate report showed.

Policymakers are weighing options to counter the turmoil that has forced five euro area nations to seek external aid and eroded investor confidence. ECB president Mario Draghi, who met US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in Frankfurt on Monday, has pledged to do everything to preserve the euro.

“Companies generally are under serious pressure to keep their labour forces as tight as possible to contain their costs in the face of the current limited demand, strong competition and worrying and uncertain growth outlook,” according to Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight in London.

“There looks to be a very real danger the eurozone unemployment rate could reach 12% in 2013.”

The euro was little changed after the report. The single currency has lost about 7.4% against the dollar over the past three months, reflecting investor concern about a euro breakup.

— Additional reporting by Bloomberg


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